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Right to Health Position Paper

A Political Question? Reflecting on the Constitutional Court’s Ruling in the Maternal Mortality Case (CEHURD & Others V Attorney General of Uganda)

“Denying an individual or group the ability to make constitutional claims against the State with respect to nutrition, housing, health and education excludes those interests from a process of reasoned interchange and discussion, and forecloses a useful forum for the recognition and redressing of injustices”

In 2011, the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), Prof. Ben Twinomugisha, Rhoda Kukiriza and Inziku Valente petitioned the Constitutional Court of Uganda, seeking declarations to the effect that the non-provision of basic indispensable maternal health commodities in government health facilities and the imprudent and unethical behavior of health workers towards expectant mothers are inconsistent with the Constitution and are a violation of the right to health. They argued that the high maternal mortality is caused by the government’s non-provision of the basic minimum maternal health care packages, and the inadequate human resource for maternal health – specifically midwives and doctors, frequent stock-outs of essential drugs for maternal health and lack of Emergency Obstetric Care (EmOC) services at health centres and hospitals.

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